Ultrabooks run on Intel Core processors, uses solid state drives, and has a unibody chassis; created to compete with Apple’s Macbook Air (and obviously not cheap). Because of these limitations, Ultrabooks don’t have optical drives and sometimes Ethernet ports.
The Ultrabook concept was announced in 2011, and since then, has evolved. You now get ‘touch’ and ‘convertible’ Ultrabooks, which are somewhat self explanatory. It does take a bit of getting used to a touch laptop; however, I do see convertibles (laptop/tablet hybrids) being a more popular choice, especially if you travel, or are ready for Windows 8.
With a sharp decline in PC sales, which hit an all time low in 2013, it makes sense for your next purchase to be an Ultrabook variation. Portability is key; and nobody wants to lug around a hefty laptop (when last have you actually used your optical drive anyway? Not talking to you [freelance] designers).
Here’s my roundup of Ultrabooks, available in the local market.
1. LENOVO – THINKPAD X1 CARBON
More a business solution, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is Lenovo’s premier Ultrabook, features anti-theft technology, and weighs less than 1.4kgs.
Price: From R18,500
2. HP ENVY TOUCHSMART
The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 has a stylish metal finish and comes with integrated Beats Audio, a subwoofer, and a multi-touch touch display. Slightly on the heavy side at 2.17kgs.
3. ACER ASPIRE S7
The Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook is incredibly thin and sleek, has a full HD touch display, and features a white Gorilla Glass exterior, which is scratch resistant.
Price: R24,999 (ouch)
4. ASUS ZENBOOK
The Asus Zenbook is beautifully designed (3mm at the front; 9mm at rear), features Bang & Olufsen sound, and has an “Instant On” feature that resumes from sleep mode in 2 seconds.
Price: From R18,200
5. TOSHIBA SATELLITE
The Toshiba Satellite U920t is a 12.5″ convertible Ultrabook with a slide-and-tilt design that has Windows 8 gesture support, fingerprint-resistant Gorilla Glass display, with USB 3.0 ports and NFC.
6. SAMSUNG SERIES 9
The Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook has a boot-up speed of 9.1 seconds and wakes up in 1.4 seconds, and is half an inch thin, and weighs 1.15kgs.
7. DELL XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook is made from aluminium and carbon fibre, is 18mm at its thickest point, and manages to squeeze a 13.3″ into a body similar to an 11″ and weighs 1.3kgs.
Price: From R13,000
8. SONY VAIO DUO
The Sony Vaio Duo 11 is a hybrid Ultrabook with a sliding LCD that switches between slate and keyboard mode. It has a 11.6″ full HD display, NFC, and weighs 1.3kg.
9. FUJITSU LIFEBOOK
The Fujitsu Lifebook UH572 has a stylish design, available in red or silver, has USB 3.0 ports, HD display and webcam, with optional 3G and weighs 1.57kgs.
10. MECER ULTRABOOK
The Mecer JW6 14″ Ultrabook is very bare bones and is the cheapest on the South African market. It runs on a Core i3 processor, has 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD & 320GB HDD.